Tyre issues causing motorway breakdowns

Tyre issues causing motorway breakdowns

A Freedom of Information request has revealed 47.6% of all breakdowns on UK motorways and A-roads over the last three years were caused by tyre issues.

The request was made to National Highways by motor insurance loss adjuster Claims Management & Adjusting (CMA), part of the QuestGates Group.

In February, National Highways confirmed there were 5,934 tyre-related incidents on the Strategic Road Network (SRN) in 2021, rising to 7,095 in 2022 and 7,762 in 2023, including blowouts which led to serious collisions. CMA asked for more detailed figures and the headline findings were as follows:

SRN Breakdown Causes 2021-23 

1 Tyre issue 47.6%
2 Loss of power 18.6%
3 Engine 7.7%
4 Out of fuel 7.0%
5 Clutch/gears 4.7%

Source: CMA analysis of National Highways data

Philip Swift, Technical Director at CMA, said: “From a fleet and insurance perspective, this new data gives a great insight into highway claims costs. The first thing we noted was that the cause of many incidents was not specified. Stripping these out, the true scale of the tyre problem became shockingly obvious – they have increased year-on-year since 2021 and now cause roughly half of all highway breakdowns.

“Carriageway closures cause huge disruption and can also lead to sizeable insurance claims involving infrastructure repair costs. Unlike out of fuel, for tyre issues you have to ask: Who was negligent? For years, we’ve been highlighting a worrying rise in ‘swerve to avoid’ and ‘tyre blowout’ claims. If an incident was caused by debris that should have been cleared, far from accepting blame, there could well be a case for making a ‘red claim’ for damage to your vehicle. A contractor we met was blunt; the safety push to reduce the number of carriageway crossings by staff has unfortunately led to an increase in debris.

“A further factor to consider is the high number of vehicles now fitted with a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). These days, there’s often hard evidence with which to either refute a claim against a driver or pursue the relevant authority if appropriate. This is an underappreciated area of motor insurance that drivers, fleet operators and insurers would be wise to gen up on.”

CMA’s full Freedom of Information (FOI) request to National Highways can be viewed here.

Related posts